01 April 2012

Annotated Game #38: A most instructive loss

This fourth-round tournament game is a strong contender for my most instructive loss.  My opponent, perhaps around twelve years old, played the Panov-Botvinnik Attack against my Caro-Kann, which transposed into a Queen's Gambit Declined-type position; the computer in fact classifies it as a Queen's Gambit variant.  The opening goes eleven moves before leaving the database, something of a rarity at the Class level.

The middlegame features a tense duel between White's pressure and Black's countering moves.  Black makes some inferior moves in the early middlegame (moves 15-16) but White then becomes overeager and plays a premature rook lift on move 17.  The pendulum shortly afterward swings back in favor of Black, although after some back-and-forth the position simplifies into what should be a drawn rook and minor piece endgame.  Shortly after this occurs, I play carelessly and White immediately takes advantage of this, creating multiple threats against my pawns that I cannot parry.  Although I hold out until we reach a bishop endgame, White gains a decisive advantage and I resign.

During the post-mortem analysis in the skittles room, my opponent's teacher/trainer sat in and provided some useful pointers.  My opponent was originally rather cocky about his position in the opening, but his trainer then corrected his evaluation and pointed out how Black was doing just fine until the endgame error.  Because of the key nature of this opening system and the typical tactical and strategic themes that were shown during this game, I feel like gained a great deal from playing and then analyzing it.  Interesting how a loss can become a gain, in that respect.


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